Drop in Adverse Drug Events Linked to Meaningful Use of Electronic Records

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael Furukawa, Ph.D.

Senior Economist
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Despite some progress, patient safety remains a serious concern in U.S. health care delivery, particularly in acute care hospitals. In part to support safety improvement, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act promoted widespread adoption and use of certified electronic health record technology. To meet Meaningful Use (MU) requirements in the law, hospitals are required to adopt specific capabilities, such as computerized physician order entry, which are expected to reduce errors and promote safer care.

We found that, after the HITECH Act was made law, the occurrence of in-hospital adverse drug events (ADEs) declined significantly from 2010 to 2013, a decline of 19%. Hospital adoption of medication-related MU capabilities was associated with 11% lower odds of ADEs occurring, but the effects did not vary by the number of years of experience with these capabilities. Interoperability capability was associated with 19% lower odds of adverse drug events occurring. Greater exposure to MU capabilities explained about one-fifth of the observed reduction in ADEs.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our study provides evidence on the impact of HITECH Act investments on patient safety in U.S. hospitals. Our findings are consistent with growing evidence on the impact of health IT on medication safety. Our results support the contention that adoption of MU capabilities and interoperability spurred by the HITECH Act contributed in part to the recent decline in adverse drug events.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our study did not examine integration of systems, effectiveness of implementation and workflow changes, and optimization of safety features. These issues are important topics for future research.

No disclosures

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Meaningful use of health information technology and declines in in-hospital adverse drug events

Michael F Furukawa, William D Spector, M Rhona Limcangco, William E Encinosa
J Am Med Inform Assoc ocw183.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on March 8, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD